iluna@valleytowncrier.com

AUSTIN/TEXAS – Due to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, several businesses and business owners have had to temporarily close their doors that put many in a tough situation to pay bills, feed their families and file for unemployment.

For many of these individuals, their only source of income was their business; even if that meant living paycheck-to-paycheck.

After announcing that the state of Texas would slowly reopen on Friday, April 17, from Texas Governor Greg Abbott, many Texans were upset at this choice but others were relieved to hear the news.

In a live press conference held Monday, April 27, Gov., Abbott announced the news that many Texans were waiting for. Despite living with a curfew in place and stay-at-home orders in several counties across the state; the following is part of Phase 1 and will allow the listed businesses below to reopen Friday, May 1 with a limited occupancy of 25%:

Restaurants Retailers Malls Theaters Museums (hands-on-activities are to remain closed) Libraries Outdoor sports (ONLY 4 individuals at once and must practice social distancing etc., golf and tennis) Church/Places of Worship (can expand their capacity but have social distancing in place) If Phase 1 proves to be successful by showing “no flareups of COVID-19 cases for two weeks,” other businesses can reopen during Phase 2 with an occupancy of 50% sometime in mid-May (May 18). Those businesses include:

Bars Gyms Salons/Barber Shops All businesses opening with a 25% or 50% occupancy must have a work safe measure in place for their employees and customers.

All essential businesses will continue to operate as usual.

All licensed healthcare professionals can return to work.

All hospitals still need to reduce the number of visitors in their facilities.

“Not all counties are effected the same with COVID-19,” said Gov., Abbott. “A different standard applies but must comply with a healthy standard outline.”

For all Texas counties or rural counties with COVID-19 cases, fewer than five can expand their occupancy to Phase 2 (50%).

Governor Greg Abbott reminds all entrepreneurs that this is “permission and not a requirement to open up their business(es) if they are not ready.”

Childcare programs for essential business workers are available on websites with over 6,000 providers available across different area zip codes.

Other data and reports that have pushed Texas to reopen are:

A decline in COVID-19 cases over the past 17 days The lowest death rate of COVID-19 in the U.S. Texas is the third state to have a high recovery rate of COVID-19 Record-breaking unemployment claims filed “We are simply not hoping for the best, we are putting measures in place and are consistent with CDC guidelines and will depend on experts to continue opening Texas,” said Gov., Abbott.

The Four Texan Commitments:

1. Practice social distancing

2. Rely on the health experts and credible data for health safety strategies/measures in place

3. Protect those most vulnerable (Age 65+ are the 20% that have been tested for COVID-19 and make up the 75% in COVID-19 deaths)

4. Support entrepreneurs who drive the Texas economy forward

For more information on Governor Greg Abbott’s “Report to Reopen Texas” visit the link:

https://gov.texas.gov/organization/opentexas